Xan Aranda is an award-winning independent filmmaker affiliated with Kartemquin Films since 2007. She is also a consultant, with clients ranging from record labels to the U.S. Department of Education, branding companies and advertising agencies, film festivals and emerging filmmakers.
Her most recent directorial commission is the 85-second album trailer for Neko Case, viewed over 130,000 times since its debut. The trailer was positively received and aggregated by Billboard, Spin, Pitchfork, CMJ, and numerous others, including Tiny Mix Tapes, which hails the trailer as having "heart and soul", featuring "the most beautiful work of cinematography known to man..."
Xan Aranda's directorial debut, Andrew Bird: Fever Year, had its World Premiere at Lincoln Center as part of the prestigious New York Film Festival and has gone on to screen in over 90 fests. Described by The Hollywood Reporter as "a gently illuminating look at a brilliant maverick musician... captured with grace and delicacy", Fever Year received nine awards, including Best Pop Culture Documentary at New Zealand's Documentary Edge Festival. The film is her fourth collaboration with Andrew Bird.
With Kartemquin, Xan is currently directing Mormon Movie, inspired by religious educational films her mother starred in while a student at Brigham Young University during the 1960s. The film is slated for release in 2015.
Xan Aranda is a Producer of the award-winning 2008 Kartemquin release Milking the Rhino. She also serves as Outreach Director for Prisoner of Her Past, directed by Gordon Quinn. Xan handled broadcast of both films on PBS.
As "arts evangelist," Xan is a popular featured speaker for students on a wide range of topics, including crowdfunding, freelancing, festival strategy, and community impact. Xan has been a guest of Wake Forest University, Seattle University, the Yukon High School of Fine Arts, Columbia College, Northwestern University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and others.
The Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Short Film Brigade, Xan curated and hosted screenings of international short films from 2003 through 2010. The Sundance Institute recruited her for their ShortsLab: Chicago.
She often serves on competition juries as varied as the Chicago International Film Festival, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, Northwest Film Forum, the Hugo Television Awards, the Illinois Humanities Council, and IFP Minnesota, among others.
Born and raised in Illinois, Xan Aranda lived in California for ten years until moving to China and eventually, Chicago in 2002. She has worked in the film, music video, and commercial industries since 1994.
Films by Xan Aranda
- Milking the Rhino 2008
- Associate Producer
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With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on more than 45 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.
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